The race to become the fastest teenager in the world looks like it will come down to a clash between two sprint superpowers: South Africa and the United States.
The favourite, albeit only a slight one, is Anthony Schwartz, a 17-year-old who claimed the US U20 title in 10.23 last month to secure his place in Tampere along with compatriot Eric Harrison, who was second in 10.26.
Schwartz is the world U20 leader courtesy of his 10.09 clocking in Albuquerque last month and if he can reproduce that form in Tampere, it’s highly likely he will follow in the footsteps of Noah Lyles, the 2016 champion, and send the gold medal back to USA.
However, South African duo Thando Dlodlo and Thembo Monareng should prove worthy opponents. Dlodlo is the second fastest U20 in the world this year, courtesy of his 10.11 clocking at altitude in Pretoria back in March. Given the early timing of the South African track season, he has not raced since April, but will be in the shake-up for gold if he has maintained his form.
Monareng was African U20 champion last year and he clocked a swift 10.18 in Pretoria earlier this year, while he proved he’s in shape to challenge for a medal in Tampere with a 10.23 clocking in La Chaux-de-Fonds last week.
It will come as no surprise though if Australia’s Jake Doran manages to upset them all. The 17-year-old arrives in sparkling form after setting an Oceanian U20 100m record of 10.15 in Finland in recent days on the eve of the deadline to qualify for Tampere.
Enoch Adegoke of Nigeria is the fifth athlete in the field with a best under 10.20, the 18-year-old clocking a PB of 10.19 at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year where he finished seventh in the 100m final.
The Asian challenge is led by Indonesia’s Lalu Muhammad Zohri and Japan’s Daisuke Miyamoto, who have clocked 10.25 and 10.26 respectively this year. The European challenge is led by Sweden’s Henrik Larsson, who’ll be hoping to strike by netting himself a spot in the final, though he may need to reproduce his best of 10.28 to do so.
Jamaican duo Michael Bentley and Michael Stephens should also be in the reckoning after going 1-2 at their recent U20 championships in 10.30 and 10.35 respectively.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF